Samuel L. Jackson pays tribute to ‘Shaft’ actor Richard Roundtree
Samuel L. Jackson has paid tribute to actor Richard Roundtree, who has died aged 81.
Roundtree died in his home on Tuesday (October 24) in Los Angeles after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.
The actor had his breakthrough role as detective John Shaft in the 1971 blaxploitation action thriller Shaft. He went onto play the character across four sequels, including Shaft’s Big Score, Shaft In Africa, and two modern sequels in 2000 and 2019 respectively, starring Jackson as Shaft’s nephew.
“Richard Roundtree, The Prototype, The Best To Ever Do It!!” Jackson wrote in a tribute on Instagram. “SHAFT, as we know it is & will always be His Creation!! His passing leaves a deep hole not only in my heart, but I’m sure a lotta y’all’s, too.”
“Love you Brother, I see you walking down the Middle Street in Heaven & Isaac’s Conducting your song,” he added, referring to Shaft‘s famous theme song.
In a separate post on X, Jackson described Roundtree’s death as a “real blow”, adding: “Loved being around him, learning, working, laughing & feeling Blessed to have an idol live up to who I expected him to be!! Thanks for making us feel REAL GOOD about ourselves! Rest in Power.”
Roundtree’s other film credits include 1981’s Inchon opposite Laurence Olivier, 1984’s City Heat, Seven, George Of The Jungle, and Once Upon A Time… When We Were Colored.
He also had numerous roles in TV, including 1977 miniseries Roots, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, Desperate Housewives and Heroes.
Roundtree was previously diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993 and underwent a double mastectomy.
He is survived by his four daughters – Kelli, Nicole, Taylor, Morgan – and his son, John.